|Me, my husband and our beloved dog, Otto.|
Kate is just to the right of me in the picture.
I am pretty traditional when it comes to weddings (well, ignoring the big hairy dog bounding in the picture). I believe it is a celebration not only for the couple getting married but also for the families. I am not someone who would elope or limit my wedding to a small, select group. I believe our family and friends create the community that helps support and foster the marriage. The wedding represents not only who you are as a couple, but your family as well.
The family that attended my wedding was very different from the family I'd started out with.
My wedding was traditional in a lot of ways. My dad gave me away (the feminist in me lost the argument to the sweet sentiment of the ritual). My mother sat in the front row.
But, aside from a cousin of my mom's, I didn't have people from my adoptive family there. My adoptive family is small. I had a brother, but he had passed away years before. I didn't have any living aunts or uncles. My cousins, all significantly older than my brother and me and residing on the other side of the country, weren't able to come.
It would have been a very small wedding on my side of the family if my definition of family hadn't expanded significantly years before when I'd reunited with my birthmother and birthfather, and, to some extent, their families. So, in addition to my mother and father, I had my birthmother, Kate, there. Two of her sisters (my aunt Mary & aunt Gina), one of her brother's (my uncle Steve) and one of her cousin's (though he had to be reminded of who I was - we'd only met once before) came. Her daughter, my birth-sister, Abby, was one of my bridesmaid's. My birthfather came.
|My dad and mom are in the front row. Behind my mom is Kate. To her|
right is her husband, Steve, and to her left is my birthdad, John.
My family was full. And, the parts of me that had been unknown or unrecognized were unearthed as well. For me, the wedding symbolized the integration of who I am from all these different families. Although I was only 28 when I'd met my husband-to-be, I had been in reunion with my birthmother ten years and had just found my birthfather a month earlier. When we married four years later, he knew he was coming into a family of many branches. He knows me as who I am, as all of me, and all of my families.
The wedding was a blend of those families. The rehearsal dinner was a fun, casual backyard barbeque at my mother-in-law's. The wedding had two receptions. The first was hosted by my birthmother at the ceremony site in the woods where we were married, where she had married her husband, Steve, several years earlier. She had prepared the food and brought it with her. The second reception, was hosted by my parents, back in the city and was the traditional reception with the opening dance, full dinner, wedding cake et al.
It was the way I was able to incorporate all of my families into one wedding.
It was one that included all of me.
Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?